After a successful close to the regular season and impressive showing during the postseason, David Freese and the Los Angeles Dodgers worked out a new contract this past winter to keep the veteran with the organization.
Although the Dodgers declined their club option on Freese’s contract for 2019, it was with a new agreement seemingly in place. He quickly re-signed on a one-year deal and later explained if not remaining with the Dodgers, retirement was likely.
Freese has again filled the role of pinch-hitter and occasional platoon player, which he admitted to requiring some adjustment on his part. While he’s managed to adapt, Freese recently has been dogged by knee tendinitis.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, knee trouble prevented the 36-year-old was unavailable in Saturday’s walk-off win against the Colorado Rockies and may be headed for the 10-day injured list:
David Freese was unavailable with more knee issues that could put him on the injured list.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) June 23, 2019
Signs of Freese’s absence Saturday were most present when Austin Barnes pinch-hit for Pedro Baez in the bottom of the 10th inning. Max Muncy represented the winning run was at third base, but he was stranded as Barnes struck out, sending the game to the 11th inning.
Public knowledge of Freese’s knee trouble surfaced nearly two weeks ago, when he surprisingly was not in the lineup against a left-handed starter. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said at the time Freese was limited but available to pinch-hit in the Freeway Series opener.
Freese recently completed a stretch of appearing in six consecutive games from June 15-20, including back-to-back starts at the tail end of it. Overall this season he’s batting .308/.407/.592 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and 23 RBI.
If Freese is to land on the IL, it may create an opportunity for Will Smith to return from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Or the Dodgers could opt to recall Edwin Rios, who also is on their 40-man roster.